Cancer is an awful, life-threatening disease, so when someone beats it, there's reason to celebrate. That's exactly what many people did Monday on National Cancer Survivor's Day.
Barb Rebstock is one of them. She started her battle with breast cancer three years ago. Her mother and sister both had breast cancer, and her mother also got lung cancer too. Both women lost their lives to the disease. Upon diagnosis, Rebstock had 38 rounds of radiation that she said were not easy. Although she's still going through other treatment now, she said her screenings have been clear.
"Everybody out there that has cancer, don't give up," she said. "Just keep going, keep fighting it. Listen to the doctors and don't give up. Half the battle is your attitude."
Aspirus Regional Cancer Center also helped patients celebrate and provided a goodie table full of cookies and fruit. There was also a gift give-away to all survivors who came in and entertainment like clowns and musicians. The Service Line Administrator for Oncology, Don Strobel said it's a thank you to the patients for letting their staff help fight their cancer battle.
The American Cancer Society states there are about 14.5 million cancer survivors currently and projected to grow to about 18.9 by 2024. Strobel said over the last 40 years, survival rates have gone up, and he said that trend is continuing.
"Because more and more people are aging, and because cancer is mostly a diagnosis of aging, we expect more people to have cancer diagnoses in the future, but we also think we have some pretty good solutions for them as well to help them in their journey."
One of the main solutions include prevention.
"We try to promote early detection, skin screenings, colon rectal screenings, all those different types of things, eating a healthy diet, being active, minimizing the amount of alcohol that you use, avoid smoking, all the normal things that you hear from healthcare systems and healthcare providers are some of the things we recommend."
He said early detection can also make it easier to fight the cancer.